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Baisch Engineering celebrates 65 years of business

Team said engineering is more than just creating new concepts and innovating

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November 28, 2023

KAUKAUNA – Being located in the heart of the “Paper Valley,” it seems fitting Baisch Engineering – which is celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2023 – got its start rooted in the paper industry.

Baisch Engineering was founded in 1958 by Steve Baisch, who at the time, served as the chief engineer for a local paper company, having the responsibility of installing several paper machines and maintaining a wood yard.

Current company President Todd Van Gompel said through his work, he saw the need for an engineering firm that specialized in the pulp and paper industry combined with an easy-to-work-with, flexible operating style. 

“Steve would often start projects with just a handshake,” he said.

Engineering during this period, Van Gompel said, was done manually – completing engineering drawings on paper, vellum, mylar and other materials, using pencils, pens, rulers, T-squares, erasers and a host of other tools.

Drawings were done on drafting boards, and drafting machines were used to combine manual drawing boards into an integrated drawing.

As innovation and technology seeped into the engineering industry over the years, Van Gompel said Baisch has always been on the cusp of technological advancement, which in turn expanded the firm’s capabilities.

What does Baisch do?
Baisch’s primary focus, Van Gompel said, lies in serving the process-heavy manufacturing industry.

“We excel in both large-scale and small-scale projects, ranging from debottlenecking, troubleshooting or rebuilding existing systems to the design and integration of new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities,” he said.

Van Gompel said the engineering firm takes pride in being a comprehensive solutions provider, guiding its clients from the initial concept to the final startup and all phases in between. 

Todd Van Gompel

“Our multidisciplinary expertise includes structural, architectural, electrical, HVAC, mechanical, process control and Building Integration Modeling (BIM) – ensuring a holistic approach to every project,” he said.

This multifaceted expertise, Van Gompel said, positions Baisch as a successful leader in process-driven manufacturing solutions.

It takes a village
Being successful in the engineering industry, Van Gompel said, takes more than one person – it takes a team.

Supported by its strong foundation in the paper industry, Van Gompel said Baisch is bolstered by a team deeply skilled in their respective areas and has set the stage for the firm’s long-standing reputation.

“Reflecting on the 65-year journey of Baisch Engineering, our success can be largely attributed to our exceptional team,” he said.

The adaptability and innovative spirit of the team throughout the years, Van Gompel said, has kept the firm in stride with technological advancements – ensuring Baisch not only remains a leader in engineering solutions but remains leaders in bringing an award-winning team to the table, consistently.

“It’s the strength of our team relationships, both internally and with our clients, that has been pivotal in our journey,” he said. “This team-centric approach, combined with our comprehensive range of services underscores our success.”

With a consistent focus on its team, Van Gompel said awards the Kaukauna-based firm has received recently – Gold Level Employee Friendly Workplace, Best Firms to Work For and Business Partner in Education of the Year – are a testament to its thriving company culture.

“These awards not only acknowledge our efforts in creating a balanced and supportive work environment but also affirm our commitment to nurturing our team’s growth,” he said. “They signify our dedication to work/life balance, health, wellness and employee well-being, which are crucial for retaining top talent and ensuring job satisfaction.”

Van Gompel said a healthy, supportive work environment gives Baisch a competitive advantage with clients as well.

“Demonstrating to our clients that our team is composed of top talented people who will add value to their projects (is a big deal),” he said.

Van Gompel said the Business Partner in Education of the Year Award Baisch received helps highlight the firm’s commitment to community involvement and the development of future professionals, which is crucial for long-term success.

Impacts of COVID-19
Van Gompel said the engineering industry, including Baisch Engineering, has seen significant changes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While already underway, the shift toward digital documentation has accelerated, leading to more efficient information sharing, even in our paper-centric client base,” he said.

Pictured during a Baisch Engineering team meeting, from left, Brian Dollevoet (principal and vice president), Jessica Coenen (project coordinator), Pat O’Connell (executive project financial lead), Jeannine Powell (structural lead/principal), Sam Knoke (civil/structural engineer) and Eric Eisenhauer (electrical engineer/principal and corporate director). Submitted Photo

Remote work capabilities have also been embraced at Baisch – offering team members greater flexibility and allowing for efficient, virtual client interactions.

Van Gompel said these adaptations have not only streamlined operations but have also been positive for the industry, reflecting a more agile, responsive approach to engineering challenges in the post-COVID era.

Value-added services
Van Gompel said Baisch’s expertise in process-heavy manufacturing, particularly in the paper industry, allows the firm to offer services from concept through startup – providing clients with a seamless experience.

Combining that with a strong focus on building relationships and understanding client needs, Van Gompel said, ensures tailored solutions that unlock value and drive success.

One such example of this, he said, is the firm’s work with Little Rapids Corporation a few years ago, which included the installation of a paper machine replacement.

Van Gompel said Baisch worked through the entire project from budgeting to the complete integration phase, including checkout and startup services.

Originally scheduled for a 36-day shutdown, he said Baisch was able to assist in shortening that shutdown to 30 days.

Van Gompel said Baisch was also the engineer on record for the Georgia Pacific Brawny Project, which recently raised its final beam – a project the firm was involved in from the start.

Baisch’s ability to provide a unique blend of deep technical knowledge and a hands-on, collaborative style, Van Gompel said, is rare in the industry.

“Our ability to handle both large-scale and intricate projects with the same level of detail and commitment is distinct,” he said.

Van Gompel said the firm also emphasizes sustainable and innovative solutions, aligning with the evolving demands of their industry.

The next 65 years
Looking to the future, Van Gompel said he and his team remain optimistic, and, of course, prepared for change.

“Our adaptability and innovative approach equip us to navigate the evolving landscape of the paper industry, which extends beyond traditional paper,” he said.

Van Gompel said the industry is experiencing growth in segments, such as paper towels, filter paper and toilet paper, which were driven by shifts in consumer behavior post-COVID.

Additionally, the rise of online shopping has increased the demand for corrugated paper for packaging, such as boxes.

“Baisch does more than just paper,” he said. “If it requires a process to manufacture, our team can help. Our ability to handle diverse processes positions us well for a successful future.”

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